Light Aircraft Association

Light Aircraft Association

The Light Aircraft Association (formerly known as the Popular Flying Association) is the representative body in the United Kingdom for amateur aircraft construction, recreational and sport flying. It oversees the construction and maintenance of homebuilt aircraft, under an approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).


The association was formed in 1946 as the Ultralight Aircraft Association and took on the name Popular Flying Association in 1952. Initially, and still primarily, an engineering organisation for approving designs for homebuilding and regulating their construction and maintenance, it is now also active in encouraging sport and recreational flying and campaigning for a regulatory regime that will provide as little restriction as possible, consistent with safety, for the construction and operation of homebuilt aircraft. It publishes a monthly magazine, "Popular Flying", and until 2006 held an annual rally that is the largest gathering of light aircraft outside the USA. This was not held in 2007 because of concerns about financial losses. Membership in 2006 was over 8,000.

The association changed its name to the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) on 1 January 2008.


The regime for approving homebuilt aircraft in the United Kingdom differs from that in many other countries, of which the United States is the prime example. Instead of an experimental system, under which an aircraft may fly once it has completed the testing phase immediately after construction, the UK requires a formal document known as a Permit to Fly. This is issued by the CAA on the recommendation of the PFA. Aircraft on a PFA Permit may not fly at night, in cloud or over populated areas. There are also limits on the number of seats (four) and on weight, power and stalling speed. The permit is valid only in UK airspace unless by agreement with another state, which is normally obtainable for countries in the European Union and many outside it. The Permit has to be renewed annually after the aircraft has been inspected by an inspector appointed by the PFA.The PFA's approval also covers homebuilt autogyros, (gyroplanes), but not helicopters.


The future of the homebuilt system and the Permit to Fly has become unclear since the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) became operational in 2003. EASA has a remit to impose common regulations across all European Union (EU) States where each State currently has its own system. Being primarily concerned with commercial aviation, EASA may decide to devolve authority for some areas, such as the many complexities of sport and recreational flying, to other organisations, either directly or via each National Aviation Authority. It is possible a pan-European homebuilt organisation, regulated directly by EASA, could emerge.

External links

[ Light Aircraft Association]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Experimental Aircraft Association — Pour les articles homonymes, voir EAA. Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) est une association fondée en 1953 par des constructeurs amateurs d’aéronefs aux États Unis pour développer et faciliter la pratique des sports aériens. Au fil du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Experimental Aircraft Association — ▪ aviation organization  organization dedicated to supporting and promoting recreational aviation around the world. The EAA has members from more than 100 countries and more than 1,000 local chapters. Membership is open to anyone interested in… …   Universalium

  • Light-sport aircraft — Light sport aircraft, or LSA, is a classification of aircraft specific to the United States.The Federal Aviation Administration defines a light sport aircraft as an aircraft with a maximum gross takeoff weight of less than 600 kilograms (1320… …   Wikipedia

  • Aircraft carrier — From bottom to top: Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft …   Wikipedia

  • Aircraft engine — An aircraft engine is a propulsion system for an aircraft. Aircraft engines are almost always a type of lightweight internal combustion engine. This article is an overview of the basic types of aircraft engines and the design concepts employed in …   Wikipedia

  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association — The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a non profit political organization whose membership consists mainly of general aviation pilots in the United States. AOPA exists to serve the interests of its members as aircraft owners and… …   Wikipedia

  • Light-emitting diode — LED redirects here. For other uses, see LED (disambiguation). Light emitting diode Red, pure green and blue LEDs of the 5mm diffused type Type Passive, optoelectronic Working principle Electr …   Wikipedia

  • Light pollution — This article is about light pollution in the visible spectrum. For information on pollution in the radio spectrum, see radio spectrum pollution. This time exposure photo of New York City at night shows skyglow, one form of light pollution …   Wikipedia

  • Aircraft landing lights — Landing lights are lights used on aircraft to illuminate the terrain and runway ahead during takeoff and landing.OverviewAlmost all modern aircraft are equipped with landing lights if they are intended and approved for nighttime operations.… …   Wikipedia

  • Ultralight aircraft (Canada) — The Canadian Aviation Regulations define two types of ultralight aircraft: basic ultra light aeroplane (BULA), and advanced ultra light aeroplane (AULA). Canadian definition of ultra light Regulation of ultra light aircraft in Canada is covered… …   Wikipedia